Wednesday, May 23, 2012

He met my parents

The BF and I have been together almost a year, but I didn't tell my parents about him until at least a month after he'd moved in. Why the time delay? I had my reasons. My parents have never been open to my relationships, but once they are in, they won't let go. They continued a personal relationship with my ex for 8 months after we split. For six months they wouldn't drop the question of "Why?" no matter how many times I explained it.

So for the BF, I knew the round of questions along with denial/challenging my decision would restart. I didn't want that to start in conjunction with this new chapter in my life. So I held off.

When I told them the truth, they were shocked. Stunned. Their oldest daughter is shacking up with a guy she met on the internet. My ultra-conservative parents had no idea that I would ever do anything like this. When I dated and married my ex, we were in college and never lived together. In fact, we were both virgins until we married.

Pauses for you to digest that last sentence.

Back to the part where my parents were shocked. They couldn't understand it, and it didn't fit into their picture of me or their timetable of "moving on." I did my best to stress that my timetable is  my own, not their's or any prescribed norm they think I should adhere to. I moved on because I was ready. No, it's not a fling and it's not a rebound despite that its the first relationship I've been in since my divorce.

Their shock reaction was to ignore my relationship. I live very far from them and see them about once a year. We talk often on the phone. For Christmas they had the opportunity to meet him; they chose not too. They preferred to pretend he didn't exist.

Fast forward to March, and I knew the first in-person meeting would take place in May for my sister's college graduation. I emailed them a mini bio of him: everything they needed to know and should know about him. Everything they should have asked. It was a little information overload for them, but it got the dialogue going.

My mom made the effort to ask little things about him. She didn't mind when I brought him into conversation. For a couple of weeks we argued over my "justification" for living with him (living in sin in their minds) and I refused to take the bait. I would not discuss any justification as I had nothing to justify to them. It didn't go over well, but eventually they let it drop.

And now this past weekend, they met. We met at their hotel for some (non-alcoholic) drinks. My sister and her new boyfriend were there (his first time meeting the parents as well). Initially it went well. Both guys were a little shy... OK, BF was a little bit more shy as his usual when meeting someone for the first time.

Dinner went well, there was laughing and joking by everyone. My sister thought it was awkward, I thought it was completely comfortable. BF didn't think it was awkward when I asked him at the end of the night, and he even sat across from my mom and nearer my dad then myself.

Over the course of the weekend there were more meals and ceremonies and walking around. They were friendly, but not overly. They didn't ask questions of him and they didn't really pursue getting to know more about him other than what I had told them. At this point I think its an OK beginning. My mom hugged him goodbye when we left. They barely know him, and getting them to move any closer to knowing him may be a challenge. All I can do is wait for them to eventually adjust and keep an open mind.

They have no idea how serious things are between us; or if they do, they've never asked or commented to let on that they do know. We were very affectionate in front of them, as we normally are in public. I'm not sure what they perceived or thought. We were our natural selves and I was proud to be who I am in front of them (something I've always found difficult to do).

For now, we'll continue as we are. The next step will come when its time. And they'll have to adjust again when that comes.


  1. You are an adult, and not only is it your right but also your responsibility to live your life on your own terms. Considering how badly it might have gone, considering the circumstances, it sounds like this was indeed a good beginning, and you handled it perfectly. Also, excellent job not hiding your affection when around your parents. This shows that you are not going to bend to their will.

    We hope your parents will continue to adjust, and eventually accept your relationship fully. But if they don't, it's their loss.

    1. Thanks, Jack. Unfortunately I've spent a lot of my adult life trying to "please them" still... thus hiding who I truly was. I've stopped that, and the experience has been eye opening. In the end, its their decision on how involved they want to be.

  2. I totally get where you are coming from and what you might have felt. Also coming from a fundamentalist and conservative family, I find it hard to openly be different from them.

    1. It is hard. It took me years to get up the courage to just be honest about who I am. Now that I am, it feels like freedom! (with a side helping of parental guilt)